The Charlotte Hornets, formerly known as the Bobcats, emerged from NBA obscurity to spark our interest last season.
Michael Jordan‘s franchise made a surprising playoff run, and pushed their team to the national forefront. Despite being swept by the 2013 defending NBA champion Miami Heat, the Hornets showed signs of life, that they are not to be scoffed at. Led by Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson, the team features a combination of young athletes and a defensive-minded head coach, Steve Clifford. Charlotte finished with the second-highest win total in franchise history, winning 43 games.
It’s been quite some time that the team has been relevant, let alone competing for playoff spots. The most recent memory of their success was in 2010, when the franchise won 44 games, and also earned a playoff berth.
The roster was built in opposite fashion of the current team. The 2009-10 Charlotte Bobcats were filed with veterans such as Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson, and Tyson Chandler.This team was also led by Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown. This group was known for their versatility, and strong personalities from management to personnel. Michael Jordan took over ownership during this same season, and it gave fans hope.
When looking at the construction of their current roster, it seems as if the Hornets should just develop their younger players, and continue to get production from their All-NBA center, Al Jefferson. His presence extends far from his stats of 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, as evident when he went down with injury in Game 1 of their first-round matchup with the Heat. The Hornets need him to lead them in a conference that, arguably, lacks another interior force in the post.
Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will also look to become a formidable combo, as they provide an offensive and defensive punch. Walker is confident, and loves the moment of leading his team. Kidd-Gilchrist is a fiery defender, and is looking to improvee on the offensive end, to take Charlotte to another level.
Charlotte will look to add to their personnel next season, armed with $19.5 million dollars in cap space. Names such as Lance Stephenson, Luol Deng, Greg Monroe, and Trevor Ariza are available next year. These players could provide more offense and defense, to an already talented core.
Maturity and cohesion will also be the determining factor, in the Hornets’ leap forward. There should be no doubt that this team will be better next season, and NBA fans should get familiar with them.